Vendors Vie to Offer Best
Ways to Lower Total Cost of
As more logistics operations
realize that pen and paper
methods or outdated legacy
systems can’t keep up with
increasingly complex business
models, the market for robust
and affordable warehouse
management software (WMS)
will continue to grow. In order
to convince businesses that a
new WMS system is a smart
expenditure, vendors are looking for new ways to offer a
lower total cost of ownership
(TCO) than their competitors.
—Stephen Jannise, ERP market analyst
at Software Advice
n order to guarantee logistics professionals a positive return on invest-
ment, WMS software vendors are using the latest technologies to make
these systems more cost-efficient and are also providing more function-
ality than ever before. Here are just a few examples:
• Integrated labor and yard management. Once thought of as optional add-
ons sold separately from a basic WMS system, labor and yard management are
now being integrated into standard packages along with other options that
were previously considered “extended features.” By integrating labor and yard
management into their WMS system, vendors can make the implementation
and maintenance of these vital tools easier and more cost-effective for ware-
house managers. Additionally, the inclusion of these features will help man-
agers maximize their operation’s productivity over the long run. For example, if
yard activities like cross-docking are integrated with the rest of the system’s
functions, managers will be better equipped to reduce costly and unnecessary
inventory moves into the warehouse.
• Robust performance management. Surprisingly enough, WMS systems frequently fall short of providing the necessary performance reports to help managers continually improve their business processes. If logistics professionals can’t
acquire and analyze in-depth information about their operational procedures,
their chances of seeing a significant ROI may be impaired. For this reason, many
vendors are strengthening their system’s performance management functionality.
Users will have greater control over the selection and creation of key performance
indicators (KPI) that are used to measure performance. Once the system begins to
gather and store data based on these KPIs, users will find it easier to analyze the
information by sorting through KPI filters. Naturally, vendors will look to deliver
this information in a graphical, easy-to-learn user interface.
• Radio-frequency identification. Although many operations will continue
to rely on traditional bar code scanning methods to track inventory, those with
the necessary budget and the willingness to implement new technologies will
begin making the move to RFID.
In the next year, the aforementioned concepts will just be the tip of the iceberg
in terms of providing logistics professionals with the lowest total cost of ownership possible. Software-as-a-Service will continue to grow as vendors offer
users on-demand options at low, subscription-based prices, allowing the software to grow along with the business.